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Friday, May 20, 2016

NKJV Apply the Word Study Bible

TITLE: NKJV, Apply the Word Study Bible, Hardcover, Red Letter Edition: Live in His Steps
AUTHOR: Thomas-Nelson Publishers
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2016, (1632 pages).

This new study Bible has one key focus: To help the reader get up close and personal with Jesus so as to be more like Jesus. This is indeed wonderful. The publishers have tried to achieve this with four emphases:

  1. Text: It begins with a reliable Bible text translation. 
  2. Resources: Plenty of resources are allocated to help explain the contexts and the content of the passages
  3. Practical: The commentary and notes are all written with application in mind.
  4. Invitation: Readers are invited to make a personal commitment at various junctures to take a step of faith and to deepen one's commitment to Christ.
Let me give some comments with regard to this study Bible. First, it should appeal to those of us who are die-hards with regard to the King James Version. This is a very good translation that has stood the test of time. Updated with more modern language, it retains the beauty of the language used. While the KJV is beautiful in itself, younger readers will find the language a little too difficult to understand. With the NKJV, it overcomes this by updating words and phrases for the modern reader. The publishers have retained the "thought flow" of the original translation. 

Second, the New Testament source texts used is still the Textus Recepticus, the same Greek text that the 1611 team had been using. Knowing that a substantial number of scholars have argued in favour of the "Majority Text," the publishers had to make a decision. Do they completely follow the old KJV TR or to switch over completely to the Majority Text? They decided against the switch and opted to use mainly the TR but footnotes the parts where the Majority Texts have been preferred. This I think is a good move. The "N" in the NKJV should stand for these 'notes' while the "KJV" represents the original source texts used. It is a nice balance I would say.

Third, while the titles, explanations, and footnotes are helpful, there is a sense that the study Bible has done some interpretation for readers already. Personally, I believe that every Bible translation is already an interpretation. With these titles, headings, and footnotes, it is an additional layer of interpretation which might unwittingly take away the joy of interpretation for readers. Of course, one can argue that a study Bible is purchased simply because of these helps. That is why I would usually advise that serious students and readers use a regular Bible and study bibles like this as a supplement. Otherwise, we may essentially let the study Bibles do the thinking for us! 

Fourth, I like the introductions at the beginning of each Bible book. The key verses and the overall gist of the book prepares readers for what is to come. It points out key people, key events, key people, and so on.

Finally, let me say something about the eBook edition. Instead of the colour content accompanying the appropriate pages, hyperlinks are used instead which can be quite confusing at first. Those who intend to use this study Bible well should spend time to learn how to navigate between the texts and the accordances, the articles, the colour maps, and many other supplementary materials. Just half an hour of learning these navigational tricks can streamline the use of the eBook edition. For those of us who prefer the print version, I would say Go For It! I think for study Bibles, print ones will always win hands down.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Thomas-Nelson and BookLook Bloggers Review Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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